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The Slack Workspace Manifesto

Facility Manager Joe Gentel shares his team’s approach to designing humane spaces

slack office space

At Slack, we’ve directly applied our company’s values to how we go about creating productive and welcoming workspaces. Employees have been a major influence on how we plan and design our offices, and those of us on the facilities team have done our best to make people feel comfortable offering suggestions about what they want their work areas to be.

Last fall, we held a panel discussion on what changes people would like to see happen. The suggestions were compiled by our director of global facilities, Deano Roberts, and written into an internal document we call the Slack Workspace Manifesto.

A common mistake of office design stems from the designers and stakeholders crafting a space based on their personal preferences. You may have a specific type of space that works best for you, but that hardly means it works best for everyone.

You’ll see below that as a result of gathering input from Slack employees, we have a set of principles that reflects employees’ preferences—for example, locating offices near public transit, and building a mix of communal and private spaces into an open floor plan.

 

small meeting room next to communal space
Small meeting rooms and open common spaces

 

Hence this manifesto exists not only as an expression of Slack’s workspace design principles, but as an expression of our overall culture and values.

Slack Workspace Manifesto

  • We shall not have offices larger than 150-ish people when possible
  • We shall always locate offices within reasonable walking distance from public transportation
  • We shall avoid locating offices in dedicated tech hubs that limit the diversity of and influences on our community
  • We shall have an open floor plan with easy access to many individual quiet spaces
  • We shall encourage development in emerging and underserved communities
  • We shall leverage in-house and local designers and artists to make each office reflective of Slack’s mission and the local community
  • We shall encourage space redesign updates every 18–24 months to incorporate ideas from new employees and cues from our evolving culture
  • We shall develop spaces at Slack that are public facing and allow for regular public interaction
  • All employees should have safety and security at work with limited impediments to office flow, as well as safety in getting to and from the office

The Slack Workspace Manifesto is a set of ideals, many of which will take a lot of work and discussion to achieve. In the coming months, we plan to write more about some of these specific goals and share the values, conversations, and challenges behind them.

 

Vancouver office
Slack’s Vancouver office and its “rolling rooms”

 

In the meantime, we’re curious to hear how you structure and think about your own workspace planning and design. Feel free to leave us a note below or tweet us @slackhq.

 

Joe Gentel is most likely drinking coffee.

Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.